Two research projects, new organization raising awareness
in Iranian communities here and in L.A..
Special To The Jewish Week
If you’re an Ashkenazi Jewish woman, a standard prenatal visit to the obstetrician includes testing for as many as 15 hereditary diseases that could affect your offspring. Insurance covers the cost. If you’re a Persian Jewish woman, and you want to be tested for the assortment of genetic mutations commonly found in the Iranian Jewish community, you’re basically out of luck. And quite likely, you’re also out of pocket, paying with your own money for each individual test.
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series connected to the 90th anniversary of UJA-Federation of New York. The differences between the American Jewish community of the early 1900s and today’s American Jewry are vast and notable. Volumes have been written about the ethnic division that marked the earlier community, between the well-established, often wealthy German Jews, who began arriving in the 1840s and ‘50s, and the more than two million new arrivals from the shtetls of Eastern Europe, many of them mired in poverty and “Old World” ways.
Philanthropist Michael Steinhardt was walking on a street in Berlin in the 1990s with Jack Nash, an old friend — and refugee from Nazi Germany — who was returning to his homeland for the first time in five decades.
Mr. Nash related a story of the time when, as a child, he went for a walk on those Berlin streets with his family’s nanny. They inadvertently came across a Nazi parade, he told Steinhardt. “All around, people were standing, giving that one-arm salute,” he described that memory.
The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies foundation is known for funding innovative Jewish projects like the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education and birthright israel. Now, Bronfman is making his first major gift in a different realm, hoping to further a developing field called genomics-based, or personalized medicine, with a $12.5 million gift to New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center.
by Sharon Udasin
Eight years after the Twin Towers crumbled over downtown Manhattan, rescue worker Charlie Giles still wakes up regularly with nightmares of the North Tower collapsing on top of him, enveloping his body his flames and in suffocating debris. One night recently, he even woke up to find himself throwing things.